In November 2019, the Denver City Council created Denver Revised Municipal Code Chapter 58-16, which sets the local minimum wage for Denver and prescribes the means for setting, enforcing, and complying with the new local minimum wage.
In 2021, our team of skilled minimum wage analysts increased community awareness and compliance with Denver’s minimum wage. They demonstrated leadership and innovation as they found new ways to engage some of the most vulnerable workers in our community. Denver Labor Executive Director Jeffrey Garcia and our team of analysts used our complaint-based system to investigate possible underpayments and track important data to pinpoint some of the most at-risk workers and industries.
The citywide minimum wage was $14.77 per hour, with few exceptions. Denver Labor’s goal is to protect Denver’s employers and employees and ensure everyone is paid according to the law.
Our office believes education for both employers and the public is the key to a successful citywide minimum wage ordinance. This year, we held nearly 50 live training sessions on Facebook — called “Wages Wednesday” — related to all of Denver’s wage laws, what the laws mean for employees and employers, and how they can stay in compliance. We made these virtual trainings accessible by conducting them in both English and Spanish and by making our bilingual staff available to answer questions in either language. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, we continued to hold virtual events, community meetings, and training sessions throughout the year.
We also offer several useful tools for both employers and employees on our website — including a regional address finder to help determine whether work performed was in the boundaries of the City and County of Denver, a minimum wage and tip calculator, an employer underpayment calculator, a tips tracker for the food and beverage industry, and complaint forms in English and in Spanish.
This year, our “Earned It, Deserved It” campaign reached people across the city in new ways and led to a significant increase in engagement and awareness in the community. The campaign depicted workers and their supportive employers successfully working together by following the city’s minimum wage ordinance. We used digital ads, ads at regional bus stops, radio, television, and social platforms to reach people in their homes and communities in both English and Spanish.
The contractor minimum wage rate — which impacts city employees and contractors especially at the airport — increased on July 1, 2021, to $15 per hour and will go up again on July 1, 2022, based on the Consumer Price Index. Workers covered by the contractor minimum wage work on city projects in concessions, catering, maintenance, ramp and cargo work at the airport, hospitality, security, and other jobs on city property.
This complex graphic shows the wage rates timeline in dollars per hour, split over three rows.
Row one shows the Denver Citywide Minimum wage. This wage was $14.77 per hour beginning January 1, 2021; $15.87 per hour beginning January 1, 2022; $and will be $15.87 per hour plus the Consumer Price Index in 2023.
Row two shows the Denver Contractor Minimum Wage. This wage was $15 per hour beginning July 1, 2021; $15 plus the Consumer Price Index beginning July 1, 2022, and the 2022 wage plus the Consumer Price Index beginning July 1. 2023.
Row three shows the Prevailing Wage which is determined by the Denver Office of Human Resources and is a series of wages based on job classification.